I held her in my nose. She was there for a couple of seconds smiling (a bit unlike her) and the air around her seemed girly and pinkish… Yes, she was there; she woke me up from the trance and just like that she was gone. But I held her. I held Marina Abramovic in my nose. How many people can say that?
I went to London for three days at the beginning of August. Without much planning, some friends and I decided to go to the Serpentine Gallery to see what Marina Abramovic’s latest performance, 512 hours, was about. I’d tell you to go but it ended two days ago and this post is looooong overdue.
I am a big skeptic. And once I walked in, having left my personal belongings along with my watch and electronics in a locker outside, I could feel the muscles on my face taking their what-the-hell-is-this position. Everyone inside was wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Classic look; very attractive.
Right away, a girl dressed in black, I’d call her a black angel with golden locks, took me by the hand, sat me down in one of the wooden chairs and mimicked for me to close my eyes. She glided over the floor; every footstep was carefully set as if she was hopping in slow motion through cotton candy buds on the moon.
A few minutes with my eyes closed and I got comfortable in my skin; I blended in (I think). My leopard print pants might have been the only thing that attracted attention because mentally I was out to lunch, channeling my thoughts and energy into the room (I suppose). Then, BOOM. I felt something inside of me seeping out through my pores – as if I was chemically but not physically in the room. My essence was there but not my physical presence. Kind of like when an annoying person decides that it’s a good idea to get McDonald’s and eat it on the plane. Once it has been gobbled up, the stinky stench of cold French fries and artificial beef remains lingering in the air (yes, my nose has been the unfortunate recipient of such a stench and you know who you are, stinky munchers, so stop doing it).
But now I was the one that felt like I was floating. I got up and walked to one of the adjoining rooms where about 20 beds were scattered around with thin, colorful blankets on them. I spotted one of my friends in one of the beds. Her eyes were closed and she was smiling – she was in the same McDonald’s-like trance as me.
So I plunged into this bed, headphones on and all, covered myself with the baby pink blanket that who knows how many thousands of people used before me and I just zoned out. Marina never even crossed my mind. She hadn’t in a while – wasn’t this her performance? Oh right, it was. I lost track of time, walked like a zombie from one room to another, got in another bed, leaned against all the walls possible with my eyes closed and then it happened. She danced on my nose and she doesn’t even know it! It was magical. We had a moment that only I know we shared. She woke me up just as I was preparing to come out of my trance and leave the gallery defeated, without having seen the great Marina.
When I left I realized I was there for almost two hours. I don’t know how much my experience had to do with her or not but in the end, I figure that’s just the power of Marina.
Travel changes lives & Art prolongs it.
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© Andrea Wild Botero
Image: courtesy of www.serpentinegalleries.org website